Crime

Ethics, Morality, and Sin

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Purple Knight
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Crime

Post #1

Post by Purple Knight »

If the society you live in is evil, and some action is considered a crime that oughtn't be, what is the moral option?

1. Don't do that action, because it's a crime. Committing a crime is wrong.
2. Work to get the law changed, but as long as it's illegal still don't do the action.
3. Do the action anyway. If the law is wrong then disobedience is a duty.

...And what are your reasons for picking that option?

I believe PETA is a good example of option 3. Now, I actually believe that is most moral. People think PETA has gone off the rails, sometimes stealing peoples' pets out of their yards and killing them (no joke, see video, fast forward to 7:07) but it makes sense if you believe that people treating animals ethically means ultimately not having them as pets.



I don't see a problem with any of PETA's actions in light of the fact that they don't consider having pets to be morally permissible. I see a problem for normal people like me who have no idea what is, and is not moral, because we don't have access to the moral information PETA does. If you tell me, don't do X, it's immoral, then I won't do X. But there are just too many actions and too many people disagreeing about which ones I ought and ought not to do. In other words, I can't follow everyone. I must confine myself to following the law because it's possible.

In other words, option 3 is chaotic because people disagree. Option 3 is probably unworkable.

And yet... I can only admire PETA going against laws they feel are wrong (laws that allow pets), stealing that dog, and killing it. They're working toward their righteous goal of people no longer having pets. They're disobeying a bad law. The idea that sacrifices can't be made in service of righteousness is ludicrous. Every time righteousness has increased (when slavery was outlawed for example) people have died.

The only problem with option 3 is that people who don't inherently know morality are left up the creek without a paddle, trying to obey everyone. That's not a very big problem, really.

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Re: Crime

Post #11

Post by JoeyKnothead »

Purple Knight wrote: Tue Jun 22, 2021 3:56 pm
JoeyKnothead wrote: Mon Jun 21, 2021 1:13 amSo who has em the better morals here, them that'd kill em, or them that'd feed em?
There's a simple answer to this somewhere. I probably have it in my left hand or something.

I can only choose PETA because we both agreed that option 3 was morally correct and they're doing option 3.
But I don't agree that stealing pets just to fetch on off and kill em is a moral act. Indeed, I think it's the act of a coward. Why not make the case to whomever, and go from there?

Please note, it ain't you I'm calling a coward, for you show a certain bravery in your willingness to be a moral agent, even if I disagree on the particulars.
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Re: Crime

Post #12

Post by Purple Knight »

JoeyKnothead wrote: Tue Jun 22, 2021 5:34 pmBut I don't agree that stealing pets just to fetch on off and kill em is a moral act. Indeed, I think it's the act of a coward.
The problem is, THEY think it's a moral act. They're doing option 3, and I'm doing option 1, so they're morally higher than I am. Logic dictates I should defer to their authority. At least, I would think so.
JoeyKnothead wrote: Tue Jun 22, 2021 5:34 pmWhy not make the case to whomever, and go from there?
That would be option 2, the "boyscout" option. Hank Hill chose this option when he knew the law was wrong and someone offered him an avenue to break it. He refused, and tried to get the law changed instead. It worked out in his favour, but the flaw of option 2 is that it won't usually.
JoeyKnothead wrote: Tue Jun 22, 2021 5:34 pmPlease note, it ain't you I'm calling a coward, for you show a certain bravery in your willingness to be a moral agent, even if I disagree on the particulars.
If you're not, then perhaps you ought to be. You could call my motivation fear of being a bad person. I don't believe in an afterlife, so perhaps it sounds silly, but I do get a certain horrible sinking... you could call it fear... when I compare myself to good people.

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Re: Crime

Post #13

Post by JoeyKnothead »

Purple Knight wrote: Wed Jun 23, 2021 12:31 am
JoeyKnothead wrote: Tue Jun 22, 2021 5:34 pmBut I don't agree that stealing pets just to fetch on off and kill em is a moral act. Indeed, I think it's the act of a coward.
The problem is, THEY think it's a moral act. They're doing option 3, and I'm doing option 1, so they're morally higher than I am. Logic dictates I should defer to their authority. At least, I would think so.
I just don't see how I could ever forego my own moral convictions to serve the moral convictions of others.
JoeyKnothead wrote: Tue Jun 22, 2021 5:34 pmWhy not make the case to whomever, and go from there?
That would be option 2, the "boyscout" option. Hank Hill chose this option when he knew the law was wrong and someone offered him an avenue to break it. He refused, and tried to get the law changed instead. It worked out in his favour, but the flaw of option 2 is that it won't usually.
To the extent my moral conviction aligns with the law, well there we go. In the hyperpartisan atmosphere of the USofA, I have better things to do than waste my time trying to expect change.
JoeyKnothead wrote: Tue Jun 22, 2021 5:34 pmPlease note, it ain't you I'm calling a coward, for you show a certain bravery in your willingness to be a moral agent, even if I disagree on the particulars.
If you're not, then perhaps you ought to be. You could call my motivation fear of being a bad person. I don't believe in an afterlife, so perhaps it sounds silly, but I do get a certain horrible sinking... you could call it fear... when I compare myself to good people.
I fear not living up to my moral principles, no matter how good I think others may be.
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Re: Crime

Post #14

Post by nobspeople »

Purple Knight wrote: Tue Jun 22, 2021 3:56 pm
nobspeople wrote: Mon Jun 21, 2021 10:32 am
If the society you live in is evil, and some action is considered a crime that oughtn't be, what is the moral option?
If you live in an evil society, I'd challenge that morality exists therein at all. Seems every action would be amoral, no? :confused2:
I have to say no, there are still moral and immoral actions. The people who lived in Nazi society and saved Jews are now considered heroes. I have to say that their actions were right to go against law, and the law was immoral and wrong.
To clarify: what constitutes an 'evil society'? When I read your post, it seemed to me that everything in that society is evil, making said society evil in total. If not everything's evil within that society, then I wonder at what point one consider said society 'evil' at all?
Have a great, potentially godless, day!

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Re: Crime

Post #15

Post by Purple Knight »

JoeyKnothead wrote: Wed Jun 23, 2021 3:24 amI just don't see how I could ever forego my own moral convictions to serve the moral convictions of others.
If you didn't know what was right and wrong, you'd have to.
JoeyKnothead wrote: Wed Jun 23, 2021 3:24 amI fear not living up to my moral principles, no matter how good I think others may be.
I just wish I had some. Since I know for a fact that I don't know better than anyone else, I'm forced to defer to the people with the highest morality, who know they know better than the law. This is how I see it:

Moral Individuals > The Law > Me

My only assumption is that people who think they know better than the law are probably right. Other motives can come into play, for example if someone stole the dog and sold it for a high price, then merely said they were acting morally against the immoral laws, it would probably be the case that their true motive was profit, not morality. But since this is an instance where the only factor in question is morality, I would have to conclude that people who break the law are right. Not only is that generally, historically the case, but I would have to say that someone who goes against the law to follow their own conscience is pretty much right by definition.

Historically, people who break the law for moral reasons are always vindicated, and proven right in the end. I can think of the American revolution, the ending of slavery, the ending of prohibition, and anyone who went against the Nazis and helped Jews as examples. No examples of people who broke the law for purely moral reasons and were not eventually vindicated come to mind.

It seems to me that whenever people disagree with law about morality, the law cannot be right and the government must be evil.

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